U-2 Spy Planes Keep Tabs on North Korea

As tension build-up as the world watches the North Korea’s transition of power, Washington is realizing the importance of U-2 spy planes more than ever before.

The legendary U-2 “Dragonlady” has been serving the US Armed Forces since the beginning of the Cold War. Its main use is to monitor the actions of secretive nations. And in the midst of a critical period at North Korea, U-2 is proving that it can keep up with unmaned spy drones like Global Hawk.

In a rare interview with the Associated Press, pilots of the U-2 spy plane shared some information about its missions. Three U-2 planes are based on the Osan Air Base in South Korea. It is just 50 miles away from the border. U-2 missions are flown every day. According to the squadron commander, they are the eyes and ears to the North Korea. Its extreme high altitude and intelligence capabilities make it very sought after.

In the missions on North Korea, the U-2 aircraft is affirming its relevance to today’s hi-tech aviation. Unlike satellites it can be redirected on short notice to other target areas. It high altitude capabilities make it nearly impossible to track or intercept. It also survey a broader target area than low-flying aircraft. These capabilities has prevented the US Armed Forces to retire the U-2 Spy Plane. It had postponed the plan of replacing it with Global Hawks until 2020.

source: http://www.cbsnews.com

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